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Christmas Lights and Decorations - Make Your Holidays Sparkle

Nov 5, 2007
Making your holidays sparkle with the right lighting displays is a wonderful way to express your creativity and your Christmas Spirit. Unfortunately, far too many people don't take the necessary precautions to insure that their lighted decorations are safe for their home and families. Every year, thousands of home electrical fires are caused by improper lighting and extension cord use.

Avoid turning your holidays into a disaster by following these simple holiday lighting tips:

-Always check for cracked or loose sockets and connections. Be sure to replaced broken bulbs, exposed and frayed wires or scorched insulation before plugging in lights. Even new ones should be checked for safety defaults.

-Once you've plugged in your lights, lay them on a non flammable surface for at least 15 minutes and watch for shorts, sparking, melting or other signs of overheating.

-Make sure that your lights are UL Listed, which means that they have been inspected and approved for all U.S. safety recommendations.

-Keep your tree watered daily. Dry needles can spark easily when heated by lights, causing a fire.

-Keep tree lights away from direct contact with needles and branches.

-Make sure all artificial trees are fire retardant

-Never use indoor lights, decorations or extension cords out of doors, even if they will be protected by the weather. Be sure they are rated for outside use. Lights intended for indoor use feature green UL markings and tags, while those safe for outdoor use feature red UL markings and tags. Those that can be used either indoors or outdoors will bear the red UL markings and tags.

-Always plug outdoor lighting and decorations into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet.

-Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for outdoor lighting use. Check to make sure if they contain any weather or temperature restrictions, especially if you live in a harsher climate.

-Never leave either indoor or outdoor lighting or decorations on while asleep or away from home. Use a timer to ensure that aren't accidentally forgotten.

-Never plug more than three strings of lights into a single extension cord, and never plug multiple extension cords together on one circuit.

-Never use metal staples or nails to hang light strings. They can damage the protective insulation around the wires and cause an electrical short. Opt for plastic fasteners instead.

-Never run extension cords across sidewalks or driveways.

-Never use a metal ladder when hanging lights.

Holiday lighting and decorative displays both inside and outside your home can be a beautiful way to celebrate the holidays - if you take the time to ensure that they are safe.
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